Delivery robot pilot set to start in Bloomfield this month

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh plans to launch a pilot program this month to test semi-autonomous delivery robots in Bloomfield, and the Bloomfield Development Corporation held its second public meeting Wednesday to address questions and concerns brought up at the first meeting in April.

The pilot is in partnership with Berkeley-based KiwiBot, which creates small personal delivery devices that travel no more than four miles per hour. KiwiBot PDDs use sensors to detect people, traffic lights, vehicles and other obstacles, and they use cameras, lights and speakers to interact with the people they deliver to. KiwiBot PDDs are semi-autonomous, but can be controlled remotely by device operators at a centralized hub.

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The six-month pilot is expected to start toward the end of June. First, KiwiBot employees will use a few devices with humans nearby to map the neighborhood and determine routes that are feasible for the devices. Then, the city plans to host some demonstration events with the community. In mid to late July, the city expects to start operating the delivery service with two to three devices and gradually add up to 10 devices in a 1.5-mile radius from a central hub in Bloomfield.

Read more from our news partners at the Pittsburgh Business Times.